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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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The extensive action of the German Fifth Column in Poland during
1939 had impressed the Soviet strategists, but, unlike Hitler, they did not
possess in those countries west of Russia any weapon equivalent to the
700,000 Volksdeutsche colonists established in the Polish Republic. The
Soviets could not base an c action in the rear of the enemy' on the few
Russians dwelling on Polish territory since these were anti-Communists
and therefore valueless. Thus, after Germany had invaded Russia, the
Soviets found themselves unable to wage guerilla warfare in Poland itself,
but only on the west of the Soviet Empire, either in those areas inhabited
by the Great Russians, or else in the borderland, where at least
half the native population had previously been evicted and exchanged for
Great Russians. But, owing to an order issued by the Soviets without a
great deal of forethought, these newcomers to the borderland had been
removed from their homes at the beginning of the invasion, and were
trekking eastward when the German motorised armies, advancing rapidly,
overtook these people, scattering them over a wide area.
The situation in the territories of the Polish Republic was entirely
different. Here the few sympathisers of the Communist order, parti-
cularly after twenty-one months of the Russian policy of extermination,
were non-existent and there was no possibility of basing a Russian action
on any local inhabitants. The Soviet General Staff was therefore obliged
to seek an alternative solution.
The eastern half of Poland had been c swept clean ' by the Russians
during their occupation. At the same time, the country had lost a great
percentage of its population and was more than half ruined, for war had
already twice passed here—in 1939 and 1941. The factor which facili-
tated Russian action in this area, however, was that the Germans, unable
to police the occupied territories with close supervision, were obliged to
limit their attention to key-positions, railways, towns, bridges and boroughs.
Each borough contained 30 to 40 S.S. men who, in addition to the German
officials, acted as guards and ruled the newly conquered areas by terror.
In the event of any resistance, a punitive expedition in lorries was dis-
patched and the rebellion settled in no time by an iron fist, by the shooting
of guilty and innocent alike, burning villages and restoring German law.
This primitive system of government depended to a great extent on good
communications. In Eastern Poland, where these were not satisfactory
and where the network of roads was at its worst, that is, chiefly in the
central marshes of the land of Polesie, south of that territory in the forests
of Volyn, and northwards in the area of Baranowicze, in those regions
where the population was very scattered, the Russians were able to
drop their agents. A few of them made their first appearance in
December 1941 and the spring of 1942 in that country. These agents
were not concerned with fighting the German occupant, they had been
sent with definite orders to provoke a ' general rising' in Poland or, at
least, in certain sections of it, but the execution of such an order was